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9 Aug 2018

Belarusian Gosatomnadzor eager to sign agreement with Lithuanian nuclear safety agency by year end

MINSK, 9 August (BelTA) – The Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) intends to sign an agreement with the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate of Lithuania (VATESI) by the end of 2018. The Gosatomnadzor head Olga Lugovskaya revealed the plans as results of the peer review of the Belarusian nuclear power plant stress tests were presented on 9 August, BelTA has learned.

Olga Lugovskaya noted: “Actually we continue to stay in touch with the Lithuanian agency VATESI. Information is being shared. The colleagues ask us questions. We work in the technical dimension. We hope that more headway will be secured by the end of the year after the regulatory agencies of Belarus and Lithuania have signed the agreement. The agreement will allow us to communicate more actively.”

Lithuanian colleagues also take part in the European technical aid projects, which are being implemented jointly by the European Union and Belarus.

Mark Foy, a representative of the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), head of the group of European experts authorized by ENSREG to perform a peer review of results of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, added that Lithuania had taken an active part in the peer review process because a representative of Lithuania had been a member of the expert group. “Out of the 460 questions Gosatomnadzor had to answer [as part of the peer review process] some 115-120 questions were asked by the representative of Lithuania. We treated them as questions of the group of experts and sent them to Gosatomnadzor,” added Mark Foy.

Lithuania is a member of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) and took part in the plenary session, during which the report on the Belarusian nuclear power plant was discussed. “This is why they are up to date and received information about what was going on within the framework of this peer review,” concluded Mark Foy.

BelTA reported earlier that in 2016 Belarus voluntarily stress tested its nuclear power plant taking into account specifications of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). The national report on results of the stress tests was forwarded to the European Commission and made available to the general public online in 2017. The main conclusion is the Belarusian nuclear power plant is resilient to events of the kind that befell the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. A group of 17 experts representing nuclear and radiation safety regulatory agencies visited Belarus in March 2018 upon ENSREG’s authorization as part of the peer review process. The group also included representatives of the European Commission. Representatives of the IAEA, Russia, and Iran acted as observers.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built using the Russian standard Generation III+ design AES-2006 near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.

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